Laurel Ridge Honors Student Veterans as Part of Military Appreciation Week

For Immediate Release:
November 4, 2016

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134


Nov. 7-11 is Military Appreciation Week, and Laurel Ridge is doing everything possible to show student veterans how grateful we are for their service and sacrifices.                                                         military-week

  • November 8  – The highlight of the week at the Middletown Campus will be a mentoring luncheon, Tuesday, Nov. 8 at noon. At the luncheon, veterans enrolled at Laurel Ridge will have an opportunity to network with veterans from the community. The luncheon will take place in the college’s Veterans Center. A couple of student veterans will be available to speak to reporters at 1 p.m.
  • November 10  – There will be an Open House at the Veterans Center from 2-4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10. The Veterans Center at the Middletown Campus opened in June. The center, located in Room 317, Cornerstone Hall, is a place where veterans can relax, talk with other service members, meet with an advisor, use the free printing service, or grab a coffee.

The Middletown Campus will also have an honor and memory board in the student union and a table set up Monday through Thursday for students to sign cards to veterans.

  • November 10 – At the Fauquier Campus in Warrenton, 2014 Laurel Ridge Professor of the Year Jerome “Butch” Austin will share his moving experiences as a combat veteran. He has taught science at the Fauquier Campus since 2002, although he was called away to active duty in Afghanistan in 2005-2006, and to Iraq in 2009. While in Afghanistan, he helped to build schools. Austin and other speakers will speak from  6:30-8 p.m. in the Rose Loeb Center.

Also at the Fauquier Campus next week, students are encouraged to pick up a “brick” and write a vet’s name, fond memory or quote on it before it’s placed on a wall in the Rose Loeb Center.

  • November 17 – The Middletown Campus is hosting an information session 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17 for those wanting to learn more about education benefits for military members and their spouses and dependents, and about opportunities at Laurel Ridge.

At Laurel Ridge, we strive to support veterans all year round. Sharon Painter, veterans assistant and certifying official, and Sandy Burner, veterans specialist, are there to help them with a variety of services, including course advising and assistance with GI Bill® paperwork and other financial aid matters. They are also working to develop a mentoring program where veteran students can meet with veterans who have had career success.

During the 2015-2016 academic year, 224 veterans were enrolled at Laurel Ridge, with nearly two-thirds receiving military benefits to help pay for their schooling. The top degrees sought were in general studies, science, business administration and liberal arts.

Additionally, Ernie Grisdale, assistant professor of chemistry at Laurel Ridge, along with his family, are establishing an endowed fund to honor veteran students pursuing careers in the sciences.  This year, the fund will provide Liberty gasoline cards for select students.  Ernie, a Vietnam vet, who has taught at Laurel Ridge for nearly 30 years, is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, as is his wife, Ann.  Three of their four children are veterans as well.


Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With three locations — Middletown, Warrenton, and Luray-Page County — the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Laurel Ridge Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. Laurel Ridge Community College also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities. Laurel Ridge shall promote and maintain equal employment and educational opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions including lactation, age (except when age is a bona fide occupational qualification), status as a veteran, national origin, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment. Inquiries may be directed to the Associate Vice President, Human Resources, [email protected]173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown, VA 22645, 540-868-7226.

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.